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Ebola Connect

This project aims to facilitate community-based Ebola care for communities which are remote from Ebola treatment units (ETUs), by providing access to (1) public health scale information via ETU-based radio broadcasts and (2) symptom assessment (and tracking) and treatment information geared towards the resource-limited setting. Ebola Connect radio programming offers news from the front lines of Ebola treatment, with inspirational survivor stories etc. Team Members: Elio Icaza Andrew Richards Alex Hsu Zoe Ene Redat Davison Deb Rosenberg This concept was produced as part of the Fighting Ebola with Design charrette hosted by MASS Design Group in collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) on November 8th 2014.

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Share your idea in one sentence

Ebola Connect takes advantage of existing communications infrastructure (cell phones and radio) to provide critical, personalized information and a message of hope to communities affected by Ebola.
(example audio file linked below)
What is the title of your idea?
Ebola Connect

Sum up your idea in one sentence.
Ebola Connect takes advantage of existing communications infrastructure (cell phones and radio) to provide critical, personalized information and a message of hope to communities affected by Ebola.

What is your idea trying to solve?
This project aims to facilitate community-based Ebola care for communities which are remote from Ebola treatment units (ETUs), by providing access to (1) public health scale information via ETU-based radio broadcasts and (2)  symptom assessment (and tracking) and treatment  information geared towards the resource-poor setting.

Who will benefit from your idea?
Individuals and families who lack adequate information about the Ebola virus epidemic and who need support making decisions about treatment. Ebola Connect radio programming offers news from the front lines of Ebola treatment, with inspirational survivor stories and music that uplifts and narrates a shared cultural experience.

Who will implement your idea? Where should this happen?
In cooperation with existing radio and cellphone communications networks, ETUs can sponsor radio programs, staffed by volunteers. A pre-recorded and text-based interactive cell phone program offers the ability to navigate through menu items like symptom assessment, nearest ETU and current wait times (based on geolocation), preventing the spread of Ebola: tips and tricks, home treatment for Ebola victims (e.g. simple oral hydration recipe). 

How will this idea be prototyped, or tested?
We presented sample screen displays for our cell phone-based program and a sample radio broadcast. The radio programming also directs people to the correct phone number or text number.

What is the opportunity or potential impact that your idea aims to bring? Understandably, many aid organizations direct their relief efforts at basic health delivery and treatment in crisis situations like the Ebola outbreak. Likewise, our first concern was  to provide treatment options and support for people who cannot be treated at an ETU because of location or over-capacity conditions. Meanwhile, individual motivation to take appropriate infection precautions, to seek and give treatment - these are human issues that will  impact the outcome of this epidemic. Through radio broadcast programming we can raise awareness, provides knowledge and boost morale on a population scale (the public health component). Through an  interactive cell phone call/texting service we can provide guidance on disease identification, treatment center locations and availability and barring ETU availability, home care information/guidance. An added benefits of using mobile technology is that epidemiologic data can be extracted from a caller’s origin to better direct resource distribution and management.

Did you make any assumptions from your prompt that are not clear in your solution?
We are working with the knowledge that some communities may be too remote from the existing ETUs and that due to Ebola’s epidemic proportions, ETUs are filling up and turning patients away. We wanted to provide hope and help for those people cut off from direct medical assistance. We understand that  many of these communities lack basic resources like access to clean water, while cell phones and radios can be found more readily. Certainly, some of the population will not have access to these items.
 

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Photo of Arushi

Good idea

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